Un Monde a Partager

A World to Share

Month: October 2022

General Article

Gotta Love Laoag

Gotta Love Laoag

One of the notable travel destinations in northern Philippines is Laoag. This third-class city, which is the capital of Ilocos Norte, is home to a wide array of scenic spots and premier attractions that keep tourists from coming back. It has also a wide array of resorts and vacation homes offering the best accommodations while you are away from home. Covering an area of 101.88 square kilometers, Laoag is also called as the “Sparkling Gem of Ilocandia.”

Laoag is located 488 kilometers north of Manila and can be reached by bus or plane. It is an hour drive to Vigan, which is famous for its Hispanic houses standing on cobblestone streets. Up north, Laoag is six hours away from Baguio, the “Summer Capital of the Philippines.”

There are plenty of reasons to love Laoag. Here is a travel guide to this beautiful city.

La Paz Sand Dunes

Leading the list of attractions in Laoag is the so-called “Desert of the North.” La Paz Sand Dunes covers an area of 85 square kilometers of sand and beach. This protected area is located just on the outskirts of the city, making it accessible to tourists. The internationally acclaimed movie “Himala” starring Nora Aunor was shot here. Even Hollywood directors fell in love with La Paz Sand Dunes. Tom Cruise’s “Born on the Fourth of July” and Mel Gibson’s “Mad Max” were filmed in part in this area.

Sinking Bell Tower

One of the first things you might notice upon entering Laoag is the Sinking Bell Tower. This 45-meter-high landmark is one of the tallest bell towers in the Philippines. It was built by Augustinian priests in 1612. Because it is so heavy and was built on sandy foundations, the tower is continuously sinking at an alleged rate of an inch a year. It is believed that people can pass through the belfry’s door years ago. But due to its present condition, one must stoop to enter the tower.

St. William’s Cathedral

Another popular travel stop in Laoag is St. William’s Cathedral. It is one of the oldest and largest churches in Asia. The cathedral, which is located across the street from the Sinking Bell Tower, was built by Augustinian friars in 1612. It has an Italian Renaissance architecture.

Tobacco Monopoly Monument

Standing beside St William’s Cathedral is the Tobacco Monopoly Monument. This was constructed in 1882 for then Spanish King Alfonso XIII, who ordered the end of the tobacco monopoly in Ilocos Norte. From 1782 to 1881, people in the province were forced to cultivate no other crops except tobacco.

Museo Ilokos Norte

Sightseeing in Laoag will never be complete without a visit to the Museo Ilokos Norte. Housed in the old Tabacalera Warehouse, the museum showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Ilocanos. Old tools used by local farmers, rattan-woven handicrafts, traditional Ilocano clothing, and artifacts across the province are some of the best finds at the museum. A souvenir shop for everything Ilocano is located inside the compound.…

General Article

Luxury Vacation Rentals – A Dream Come True

Luxury Vacation Rentals – A Dream Come True

A pleasurable holiday experience is the desire of many travelers. To complete that experience, a luxurious and classy accommodation is must. Many people will gladly agree that staying in a grandly furnished and beautifully designed holiday rental is dream come true. Whether you set your mind on holidaying in a ski resort, going on a private island getaway, experiencing castle stay or soaking in a private vineyard experience, these options are available through luxury vacation rentals built in different places around the world.

A luxurious stay often includes exquisite services from personal chef, butler, housekeeping services, concierge and masseuse. These services are often included to provide occupants with a unique and pampering experience. Some stays also offer specially built amenities such as swimming pool, gym, personal recreation area, and media room for added touch of luxury. These places are available for rent by nightly or weekly basis. Such accommodation promises a unique experience of staying in spectacularly designed premises coupled with impressive view of natural landscapes such as lush greenery, ocean or mountains. Among others, these luxurious accommodations may also offer lease of private boats, personal skiing or surfing lessons, and 24-hour personal concierge.

The price of rental is also steep, and may exceed thousands of dollars per night’s stay. Even so, choosing an exquisite stay promises a unique and satisfying experience for those looking forward to rest and relax. There are many places around the world offering luxury vacation rentals. It is easy to find out about the availability of these places through travel magazines or via internet. Though occupancy rate is much lower compared to usual home holiday rentals, these places are well maintained and some may not be open to rental all year round due to owner’s request. Therefore, if you’ve set your eyes on a particular destination, make sure you check out the accommodation in advance.…

General Article

On Your Next Vacation, Stay in a Rental Property

On Your Next Vacation, Stay in a Rental Property

Looking for a house or condo to stay in rather than a hotel? Everyone knows that booking a vacation through a travel agent or web site like Travelocity is much cheaper than booking with the hotel directly, but have you ever considered vacation rentals? A vacation rental is typically a home or a condo owned by someone who rents directly to you. No need for an agent or any sort of middleman; you can deal with the homeowner directly.

Not only is this always a cheaper option, you will have an even better stay than you would in traditional lodgings. You will have more space and more privacy to enjoy your stay if you take advantage of a rental property.

If you book directly with a hotel or renting agency, you’ll pay unnecessary fees. Dealing directly with the homeowner eases the process and saves you money.

Finding a rental home is not difficult, but it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of web sites out there. It’s important to use a reputable site that checks out the homeowners who offer rentals.

Here are the five best web sites for finding great deals on vacation rentals:

Vacation Rentals by Owner

This site offers houses and condos all across the country and around the world. The greatest advantage this site has over its competitors is that employees of the site regularly visit the properties that are listed advertised. They of course haven’t stayed everywhere, as there are thousands of vacation rentals listed, but they offer helpful reviews for the places they have stayed.

Home Away

Home Away offers just as many rental listings as the rest, but they have a unique feature: they offer a free Rental Guarantee that covers you up to $5000 in the event that something goes wrong with your arrangements or with the property.

Vacation Rental Direct

VRD offers the same search service as other sites, but they present the information in an easy to read, easy to compare listings format.

Beach House

Beach House offers amazing properties at some of the most beautiful beaches around the world.

Vacation Realty

Don’t be fooled by the name – this site is a place for rentals, not purchases. This site does not have as many listings as the other sites, but they have better search capabilities that will help you find the perfect place to stay.…

General Article

US Passport Expediting Services Available To Assist You

US Passport Expediting Services Available To Assist You

If you’re a United States (US) citizen and you plan to travel outside of the country, you’ll have to obtain a current passport. You can start by going to a US post office which offers the service on behalf of the federal government which oversees issuance of US passports. You’ll fill out forms, provide certain documents, and pay a fee. You can expect to receive your passport in about six weeks on average, but if you have an urgent need to get it sooner, you can pay an additional expedite fee and most likely receive it within two to three weeks. If you need it quicker than that, you can apply through a US Passport Expediting Services company.

First time adult applicants must complete Form DS-11. Adults applying for renewal must complete Form DS-82. Documentation of citizenship must be presented, and two identical photos are required.

The federal government establishes the application fees, which are subject to change. Currently, the rate for a first time adult application is $135. Renewals for adults cost $110. And extra, optional $60 expedite fee is charged if the applicant needs a quicker processing and delivery turnaround. And if you opt for the overnight delivery, you can expect to pay another $15.

While the federal government sets the fees, processes the applications, and ultimately issues the passports, there are private companies for hire that offer assistance to applicants. Most often these companies charge additional fees for their services, and offer much quicker delivery than the government. Many companies advertise their services online, making it convenient to compare what they offer.

The fee you can expect to pay for the fast delivery, in addition to the standard government processing fees, is likely to vary depending on how fast of a delivery you want. Many services offer a range, anywhere from 24 hours up to two weeks. Usually the longer you’re willing to wait, the less you have to pay. A rate of $200 for priority delivery within three to five days appears to be fairly standard.

The expediting services company offer help not just for adult applicants wishing to apply for or renew/replace their passports. They assist with applications related to name changes, for children, and for acquiring additional passport pages. The charges may depend on the service you request. If you aren’t able to find the information on their website, you can inquire over the phone.

Comparison shopping is often a good idea, especially when there are so many options to choose from. You may find the rates are comparable no matter which business you go with. However, it never hurts to negotiate and ask if they are willing to beat their competitor’s prices. Check references to be sure the business is legitimate, especially when you’re entrusting your private, personal information with the business operators.…

General Article

Disney World Vacation Homes – A Guide to Choosing the Best Location

Disney World Vacation Homes – A Guide to Choosing the Best Location

If you ask any Hospitality professional what the three most important factors are for business they will always tell you the same 3 things, Location, Location, Location! When it comes to choosing a Vacation Rental Home in Orlando the same can be said for the priorities of Disney Vacation seekers. Everybody looking to rent a Vacation Home in Orlando will certainly list location as one of their top 3 priorities.

Let’s be honest, no family wants to be staying an hour way from the parks, since they will have to make that drive 2 or 4 times each day. Those who choose to spend the entire day at the parks to only make the return journey once each day will either cut their day short or become worn out before their vacation is over.

Those who choose to stay as close as possible to the resorts will certainly benefit from their smart decision. Staying as close as possible without actually staying in a Disney resort will allow you to return to your Vacation Property during late afternoon/early evening, have a quick dinner and return to the park refueled and ready for more fun and an exciting firework display or parade.

So how can you filter your Vacation Rental inquiries to those resorts that are a manageable distance from the parks? It is not easy at all since many property owners will not be entirely honest about the distance their homes are from the resorts. For example, “Just 10 miles from the parks!” may sound enticing, until you understand the truth and what that could equate to.

The majority of owners will quote distances and journey times to the entrance of World Drive. What they fail to mention is the drive to the end of World Drive and the Magic Kingdom car park is an additional 5 miles. Now factor in the traffic during the busy morning Disney traffic along the 192 highway and your 15 mile journey is now close to a 40 minute drive.

The closest resorts to the start of World Drive are within 3 Miles and there are around 10 resorts within this distance. I would advise doing your research and find a place within a few miles of the entrance to World Drive. Any complex within this distance will not only offer a short drive into the parks, but will also provide the convenience of many restaurants, bars and stores within a very short distance. Your drive to Animal Kingdom can be as little as just 2 miles and all other parks will be within around 8 miles and less than a 15 minute drive on the busiest of days.

Travelers to Orlando are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of renting a Vacation Home instead of the more expensive option of staying in a Disney Resort. Vacation Homes provide families with much more space for a lot less money, as well as all the conveniences that come with staying in a home away from home. However, these benefits can quickly be negated if you choose to stay in a resort further from Disney World just to save a bit of cash. Remember you are there for the children, so save everyone from the frustrating traffic and stay in a Rental Home as close as possible to the parks, you will not regret it!…

General Article

Unique Places – And Ways – To Get Married Around The World

Unique Places – And Ways – To Get Married Around The World

Not every couple is based on tradition. Instead, many couples are a little less typical, and these couples might want to celebrate their wedding in an equally less typical fashion. It’s an increasing trend to abandon the model wedding and opt for a wedding that’s a little more avant-garde. Many desire to have their weddings in a place that holds special significance to them. Then there are those that just want their wedding to be as unique and memorable as possible. If you feel that you and your loved one models either of these couples, global destinations exists that can really make your wedding unforgettable. Your first step is acquiring expedited passport services online.

Many times the couple has a list of significant places in mind where they would consider getting married. However, there may be some places you haven’t considered, and the following are just a few ways to celebrate your wedding outside the box.

In Quebec, Canada, lies the Hotel de Glace. This hotel features a chapel which, like the hotel in its entirety, is made one hundred percent out of ice. This hotel is reconstructed each year with the season. The Absolut Icebar, located in England, is another place to have a white wedding. This location is also made completely out of ice, the likes of which is collected from a river in Sweden known for its pure waters.

For the couples that are looking to keep the theme of their wedding darker, consider having it in a Medieval castle or fortress. While castles certainly do hold the typical prince and princess imagery, images of Count Dracula and ghosts can also be associated with castles. And some castles are more haunted than others. The Arundel castle, found in England, has on display the rosary beads worn by Mary, Queen of Scots, during her beheading.

Marriage in the Sky, and other similar companies, offer the opportunity to have your wedding take place in the air. Air located 164 off the ground, that is. The entire party is hoisted up on a platform, where the whole ceremony takes place. And if you and your loved one are feeling particularly daring, take a bungee jump from the platform!

An underwater wedding is another possibility. Imagine getting married with fish and all sorts of other marine life swimming within reach. A scuba diving wedding or even a wedding in an underwater hotel can make this possible. If, however, you want to keep you and your company dry, consider getting married on a large yacht or a cruise ship.

Like previously mentioned, international weddings require the accompaniment of a passport. However, don’t let this keep you from having your dream wedding, as it is a lot easier than it used to be. Online passport shopping is a snap, and they offer all sorts of services, like adding pages to your USA passport.

If you dread the idea of a cookie-cutter wedding, there are tons of places around the world where you can make your wildest wedding ideas come into being. Everything, from theme parks to fast food chains and zoos to hot air balloons, is a possibility open for interpretation.…

General Article

5 Gift Ideas to Keep Disney Vacation Magic Alive!

5 Gift Ideas to Keep Disney Vacation Magic Alive!

With this holiday season in full swing, what better gift idea for the Disney lover in your family or for someone who has a Disney vacation planned than to provide ways to help preserve those magical memories. With that in mind, I have listed below 5 gift ideas to help keep that Disney vacation magic alive!

1. Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Camera

This 1.3 Megapixel kid-friendly camera is extremely durable with rubber grips, icon-labelled function buttons (no reading required), and a large display screen for easy viewing! Perfect for the little ones to easily snap away to capture your vacation memories.

2. Digital Mickey Mouse Photo Frame

This portable frame is shaped like Mickey’s head. It features a 1.5-inch large LCD screen and it can carry up to 49 pictures. The photos are easily transferred from a computer via USB. Upload your Magical Disney photos for an instant slide show of your vacation memories!

3. Disney Magical Memory 5×7 Picture Frame

Another great idea to capture those vacation memories is this Disney picture frame to place within your home to bring a smile to your face. I love the written description on the bottom of this frame “A magical memory of a magical day”.

4. All-In-One Disney Scrapbooking Kit

This scrapbooking kit includes a 10-page 13-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ album with decorative pages and cover. It also included are 155 acid/lignin-free stickers of lettering, cute sayings, and all of the favourite Disney characters. After a Magical vacation making a scrapbook of your memories is a perfect way to preserve and display photos from your Disney vacation. All that is needed are the photos, memorabilia, and memories!

5. The Essential Disney Idea Book

With over 65 pages of ideas and inspirations for scrapbooking layouts, paper crafting projects, gift ideas, handmade journals and so much more, it’s no wonder why this is called the Essential Disney Idea Book.…